Sustainability is a buzzword that’s been popular as more and more companies strive to create greener products and processes. But what about creating sustainable events? I’ve attended several meetings with local volunteers who are in the process of creating a TEDx event that will take place next year in our community. These volunteers have put so much effort into acquiring space, inviting speakers, and marketing the event which focuses around “doing more good.” As the team strives to do more good by incorporating sustainability into all aspects of the event, the TED organization suggested many tips for how to create an eco-friendly TEDx event. Not only is this advice beneficial for these events, but it can also apply to any convention, meeting, or conference. Below are some recommendations TED offers to make your next event sustainable:
• Choose a venue near public transportation (communicate these transportation options with your guests)
• Provide free passes for public transit to speakers and attendees (encourage carpools, purchase carbon credits)
• Produce signage and programs from recycled materials
• Where possible, use e-mail instead of paper-based communication (e.g. registration process, event schedule, etc)
• Design reusable signage (omit event date so signage can be used annually)
• Choose beverages and snacks whose packaging is biodegradable
• If disposables must be used, purchase compostable plates, cups and silverware
• Provide natural and/or organic food (buy local food)
• Use bulk dispensers for salt, pepper, ketchup, etc., for buffet meals
• Provide water in pitchers or bulk coolers (use glassware instead of bottles)
• Minimize waste through a comprehensive recycling and reuse system organized at the venue
For further “green” event tips, visit: http://www.ted.com/pages/greening_your_tedx_event.
Planning a sustainable event is not only good for the environment, but it can save you time and money. It also provides an avenue to bring about change beyond the event itself. It’s not about creating that warm fuzzy feeling of being a “do-gooder” – it’s about being responsible stewards of the resources we are given.